Experimenting with downloadable invitations to earn more Etsy sales

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By far, my top-selling item with the Low Hanging System is a white coffee mug with a simple, black, text-based design.

And while I advocate sticking with what you know works, sometimes I like to experiment with new product types, especially when they’re “low hanging.”

In the past, I’ve written about how I created printable items to sell on Etsy that were totally passive — that is, there was nothing to ship and barely any customer service work was involved. These items included Bingo games, greeting cards, and clipart.

A few months ago, I decided to experiment with selling downloadable invitations on Etsy. These printables aren’t quite as passive  as you do need to customize them with customer details, but I thought they’d be interesting to try.

Below, I thought I’d share with you how I created and listed these invitations, what my sales results have been so far, and how you can create invitations of your own.

That said, let’s get started…

Creating and listing invitations on Etsy 

I had my designers create invitations for the following special event categories:

  • Save the new wedding date
  • Change the graduation date
  • Wedding
  • Wedding shower
  • Baby shower
  • Anniversary party
  • Birthday party
  • Graduation party
  • Summer barbeque
  • Halloween party
  • Holiday party

My designers created several invitation versions for each category, and each one includes customizable information, such as the event’s date, time, address, and a phone number or email address to RSVP to.

When customers purchase the invitations, I do need to fill in this information for each order myself. So, as I said above, selling downloadable invitations isn’t completely passive the way selling my other printables is.

But I keep all of the invitation templates in Canva (more on that below), and editing them to meet customers’ customization requests takes less than a minute so the customer service work is minimal.

When listing the invitations on Etsy, here are the details I input that you should know:

Category 

Invitations – Paper & Party Supplies, Paper, Invitations & Announcements, Invitations

Type

Digital

Description (please feel free to use this template in your own listings) 

This listing is for a download of a super cute [invitation type – e.g. middle school graduation] invitation card.

How the process works:

1. Purchase the listing.
2. Send us a message letting us know how you’d like the invitation customized and we’ll fill in the information for you. (Please don’t send instructions in the comment box, as we do not receive notifications about that.)
3. We’ll then send you your customized .png file, which you can download to your device.

NOTE: This is a digital download ONLY. Your purchase does NOT include any extra materials, such as stamps or envelopes. Also, the final print quality will depend on the type of printer and paper used. For best results, have your printable printed at your local photo center.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your [invitation type – e.g. middle school graduation] invitation card download. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

Thank you!

Price

$0.95 (for now).

Personalization 

Even though the invitations do require personalization, I keep this option toggled off.  I found that too many people were inputting their customization requests in the personalization comment box instead of sending messages through Etsy’s messenger service, as I request in the listings’ descriptions.

The reason I structure it this way is because Etsy sends you a notification every time someone sends you a message. But Etsy doesn’t send you a notification about requests left in the personalization comment box. Rather, you have to scroll through your orders looking for those requests in order to stay on top of them.

I don’t think this is the most efficient way of operating. So that’s why I keep the personalization option toggled off and instruct customers to send me a message instead.

Digital files

After specifying that the product is digital, you are required to upload a file here even though you’ll need to create a special, customized .png to give to customers. So what I do is I upload the invitation template, which just includes filler information about what to input into the customization fields, such as [your name], [the event’s date and time], [your address], et cetera.

Invitation examples

So you can get an idea of what the invitations look like, here are some examples from Etsy to use as inspiration:

Selling downloadable invitations to boost your Etsy business's ecommerce sales

Image Source

Selling downloadable invitations to boost your Etsy business's ecommerce sales

Image Source

Selling downloadable invitations to boost your Etsy business's ecommerce sales

Image Source

Selling downloadable invitations to boost your Etsy business's ecommerce sales

Image Source

Selling downloadable invitations to boost your Etsy business's ecommerce sales

Image Source

How my invitation listings have been doing so far

I’ve had my invitations listed for a few months. Sales haven’t been anything super amazing and I still definitely prefer the typical Low Hanging items, but this was fun to test and I’m still going to experiment with pricing. The invitations were also quite easy to make with minimal customer service work as I mentioned.

Also, a lot of my invitations are seasonal or holiday-specific, and several of those holidays haven’t happened yet. From late May through early June, I was selling  a lot of graduation invitations, specifically middle school graduation invitations.

So when you’re selling invitations, I think you’ll notice spikes in sales around certain times of the year, depending on what your invitation is for.

There are also invitations that have year-round potential, though — for example, birthday party invitations, anniversary party invitations, wedding invitations, and baby shower invitations.

Below, you’ll be able to see how my invitation sales have been doing thus far:

Save the new wedding date

Total sales: 6

Change the graduation date

Total sales: 0

Wedding 

Total sales: 0

Wedding shower

Total sales: 0

Baby shower 

Total sales: 0

Anniversary party

Total sales: 1

Birthday party

Total sales: 7

Graduation party (preschool,  elementary, middle school)

Sales: 40

Summer barbeque

Total sales: 0

Halloween party 

Total sales: 0

Holiday party

Total sales: 0

TOTAL INVITATION SALES: 54

Like I said, we can still definitely raise prices and do some testing, and maybe offer some non-personalized ones.

I still prefer my physical goods (mugs, journals, etc)… but this was fun to try and has helped wit

How to make invitations using Canva

Not everyone is going to have a budget for hiring designers to create invitations for them. And that’s totally understandable. You don’t need designers to create invitations quickly and easily. You can do it yourself using Canva.

Canva is a fantastic graphic design program that allows you to whip up editable invitations, and it comes with a free version so there’s no expense to you.

To get started with Canva…

  • Go to Canva.com
  • Sign up with Google, Facebook, or email (you may need to copy and paste an activation code)
  • Specify how you’ll be using Canva – for simplicity’s sake, I chose personal (you may also decide to choose small business, especially if you plan on collaborating with anyone else on your designs)
  • “Start your first design” – Here, you can say invitation
  • You’ll then see the following screen:

Selling downloadable invitations to boost your Etsy business's ecommerce sales

Now, you’re ready to start designing your invitations!

As you can see, on the lefthand side of the above image, you have a bunch of different invitation templates that you can use as your designs’ foundations. You’ll find a variety of invitation templates, including…

  • Birthday
  • General Party
  • Baby shower
  • Graduation
  • Save the date
  • Quinceanera
  • Housewarming
  • Wedding
  • Bridal Shower
  • Be My Bridesmaid
  • Open House
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Movie Night
  • Sweet 16
  • Football
  • Baptism
  • Gala
  • Ramadan
  • And a whole lot more!

I love how most of Canva’s invitation templates aren’t seasonal and have year-round selling potential. I’ll likely create more invitations in the future for these types of events to see how that impacts my sales.

Using Canva to create invitations is pretty simple and you have a lot of options. You can change the text, font, and colors. You can add elements, such as lines, shapes, graphics, frames, and grids. And you can upload your own images if you want.

When you’re done, you can save your invitation right in Canva and come back and edit it as needed whenever customers make a purchase. Then, you can download the custom files, rename them for your customers, and send them via Etsy.

Here’s a video my assistant made walking you through the process:

 

NOTE: I do not recommend using Canva templates as is. You want to thoroughly modifty the templates to make them your own. That way, you’re not just reselling Canva templates and you’ll avoid selling items that are potentially exactly the same as other items on Etsy.

What are your thoughts about selling downloadable invitations on Etsy? Have you listed anything like this before? Leave a comment below and share your experiences. Also, if you liked this post, please share it with your friends and followers. 

Selling downloadable invitations to boost your Etsy business's ecommerce sales

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0 thoughts on “Experimenting with downloadable invitations to earn more Etsy sales”

  1. Thanks rachel for the great article and tutorial. i will be definitely using this. even if there aren’t many initial sales, it could always lead to something else and burst the floodgates wide open!

    Reply

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